Jews in France Urged to Seek Heirless Property; Plan Favored

The formation of a national French Jewish organization to receive the property of French Jews who died heirless during the Nazi occupation of France was proposed here today by Alexander Reiter, an official of the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation.

Mr. Reiter urged the major Jewish organizations in France to get together to form a body along the lines of the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization in Germany. Only a special body authorized to speak in the name of all the Jews of France and with the necessary legal and financial competence could hope to obtain satisfactory legislation covering the return of heirless Jewish property, he emphasized.

Mr. Reiter estimated that unclaimed and heirless property belonging to the 120,000 French Jews murdered by the Nazis amounts to several billion francs. Under present French law all unclaimed and heirless property reverts to the state. Several French political leaders have already expressed themselves as favoring a plan to introduce a special law in the National Assembly to award heirless Jewish property to a Jewish organization.

At the beginning of this year, the Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation presented the Minister of Finance with a detailed list of Jewish bank accounts blocked during the Vichy regime. The Minister promised to investigate the list and determine to what extent it included accounts of Jews who died heirless. Now documentary proof of the existence of heirless Jewish property was recently furnished with the discovery of 19,000 receipts delivered to Jewish prisoners at the Drancy concentration camp for cash, jewelry and other personal possessions taken from then before they were shipped to Nazi death camps.

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